The Bishop of Tombura-Yambio and President of the Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Barani Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala recently delivered a speech at the Interstate Governors’ Strategic Intervention Conference that took place in Yambio, South Sudan.
Drawing from the religions’ teaching and traditions, the Bishop called on everyone to make yet another effort to bring peace to the country.
The nine interstate governors were drawn from Yei River, Amadi, West Lakes, Gok, Wau, Tonji, Meridi, Tombura and Gbudue states. During the conference, county and religious leaders listened to each other with the view to exploring “possibilities of promoting greater peace and prosperity” in South Sudan.
Bishop Kussala affectionately referred locally as, Barani, spoke of the urgent need to promote peace in the troubled country. He said he was honoured to be “part of this sacred pilgrimage (journey) of these nine designated states of South Sudan towards the holy mountain of peace. This is a great moment for the history of Yei River, Amadi, West Lakes, Gok, Wau, Tonji, Meridi, Tombura and Gbudue states. These great States have looked for this moment: All of us, coming from diverse backgrounds, various religions come together to listen to one another, to explore the possibilities of promoting greater peace and prosperity to the present and future generation. This initiative is belated, but this is an opportune time,” said Barani Kussala.
The Bishop then made a passionate appeal for the cycle of violence, in South Sudan, to end.
“A peacemaking journey is when you join with others to solve an injustice in your area using compassion and courage. In fact, what makes a peacemaking journey a peacemaking journey isn’t the size or scale of the problem you tackle, but how you apply the commitments of peacemaking within your work. How do you take a stand for what you believe in? How can you understand different people’s perspectives? How do you work with others, including people who disagree with you? Different from other service programmes or volunteer work, a peacemaker journey is as much about who you are as what you do.” Barani Kussala said.
Barani Kussala further emphasised the role of religious leaders in the search for peace.
“This conference brings together …. leaders to engage in a dialogue for peace … how can government and (the) Inter-Faith Council help other stakeholders to understand one another(?) We are not gathered here as politicians; we are not gathered as state or non-state armed groups. We are nationals, seeking the good of all,” The Bishop said.
South Sudan’s Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC), the body responsible for monitoring and overseeing the implementation of the Peace Agreement in South Sudan also addressed the conference and called on religious leaders to be at the forefront in promoting peace and reconciliation in the country.
The armed conflict in South Sudan began in 2013, three years after that country’s independence. Although complex, the war in South Sudan is a power struggle between President Salva Kiir and his former Vice President, Riek Machar. Sometimes, it is characterised as an ethnic conflict between the Dinka and Nuer ethnic groups.
(Radio Vatican with contributions from Comboni Missionaries, CANAA)